One thing you can be sure of: Mac-Kee has absorbed house music like a sponge. Every cell of his body contains groove and an infectious house vibe, which he spreads to the world as a live act and producer. His output, which straddles garage, house and tech house, has been released on labels like Esuoh, Moon Harbour, 3000Grad, Beste Freunde and Deep With You, just to name a few. With his new Higher Love EP on his label Soul Pattern, he combines house and garage into a unique danceable work of art. So let’s have a chat with this house lover from Germany.
Hi Mac-Kee, congrats on the new Higher Love EP!
Thank you I am very happy about the EP! It was a long way until it finally was released.
Please tell us a bit about your musical journey? When did you get into music and into production?
I came into direct contact with techno at the beginning of the 1990s and shortly afterwards started djing, organising my own parties and running a club. I did that until 2001. Then I needed a break from the music and the scene. I listened to a lot of dub, hip hop, but also alternative music and preferred to do sports professionally.
When I rediscovered my love for electronic music in 2010, I started DJing again. But I also realised that I was missing something and that it wasn’t enough just to play records. So I started producing and some time later I also performed as a live act.
The Higher Love EP contains 4 beautiful House and Garage tracks. Tell us about the inspiration behind the tracks?
House and garage have always fascinated me, even before I started playing techno. In the last few years, my productions have developed more and more in the direction of house. I love to produce tracks in other genres from time to time, but house is the main focus of my productions.
The groove and the play with vocals always fascinate me. The tracks on the EP are the result of my live gigs. My productions usually start with a sketch, which I then play live in all situations and test on the crowd. The experiences from the live sets and the mood then flow back into the production of the finished track. This gives me the opportunity to see whether the idea was good and whether it’s worth working on it further.
It was different with “Lowcut” by Albert Vogt. Albert still had a demo from his early years. But the track itself was never finished. We re-recorded most of the stuff, tested it live with the audience and now finally put it on record.
And how did the collaboration with Albert Vogt come about at all?
I first met Albert at a party in Berlin in 2016. He was the singer for Cinthie and I had played a live set before them. The contact intensified and a year later we started to perform live together. Very successfully. The gigs were soon followed by studio sessions, which worked very well until Pandemic started.
After a longer break we are now back in the studio and working on new tracks. Of course again in the area of house and garage, but also with influences from disco and dub techno.
You work with Reel Mastering London – how important is good mastering today and what do you value?
For me, good mastering is still part of the essential production process. I see it as a finishing touch and an enhancement of my music. A boring track or a bad mix won’t get better through good mastering, of course, but you can make a good track stand out and be remembered when you listen to it, in the mix or in the club.
The Higher Love EP has also been released on vinyl and Dave is my first favourite mastering engineer. He knows exactly how to optimise the tracks for the record cut.
The last months or even years have been crazy, and not what any of us were expecting. Is there any aspect of the pandemic in particular that you’ve found it tough to deal with?
Oh yes, this time was and is definitely a challenge due to the pandemic. Besides my increased body weight (laughs), I had to struggle enormously with my motivation. Because of my production style, I really need the crowd as a source of inspiration and for feedback on my tracks. That was completely missing now.
As a consequence, I had very little motivation to spend time in the studio. I often asked myself, “Does what I’m doing still have a future, or it’s over?”
That’s why I then used most of my time for private projects. This distance was not bad and gave me some positive energy as well. The motivation is back now, the first bookings are planned and the construction of my new studio is also upcoming. Looking ahead to 2022, I am carefully optimistic at the moment. Let’s hope that things continue to develop positively.
As you can imagine – we’re big fans of the ‘love’ aspect of house music. Has that positive vibe always been something that you’ve wanted to get across with your music?
The positive mood of house is definitely something I want to convey with my music. The vocals and the groove give the music something very organic, lively and happy.
House simply puts you in a good mood, at least for me, and I hope to infect others with it.
Finally, for you, what’s the greatest house track ever made and why?
Oh wow, there are so many great old house tracks and more and more great productions are coming out. But when I look back at my early years, it was tracks by Chez Damier, DJ Sneak or Eddie Amador’s “House Music” that somehow reached me and stayed in my head.
What’s next in the pipeline of Mac-Kee and your label Soul Pattern? Any releases or remixes coming out in 2022 you want to reveal?
In the spring, a new single of mine will be released together with a remix by Mathias Kaden on Deep With You. Otherwise, I’m spending a lot of time in the studio again now, also together with Albert Vogt. The first tracks are ready now and we are planning the next two releases for Soul Pattern for summer and autumn.
There are also some collaborations with other artists. I’m sure there will be some tracks this year. But of course I’m also focusing again on live performances.
(Photos by: Nicky Hellfritzsch)